World Cycle Race 2014: Race Around The World On A Bike

Are you one of those adventure travelers who has pretty much gone everywhere and done everything? Have you already climbed Kilimanjaro, trekked the length of the Himalaya and run an ultramarathon in the Sahara Desert? Are you looking for a new challenge that will motivate you to get off the couch while allowing you to continue exploring the world at the same time? If so, then you may want to consider entering the World Cycle Race 2014, a one-of-a-kind competition that pits competitors against one another in a bike race around the world.

The race will commence on March 22 of next year with riders electing to depart from either London, Singapore or Auckland. They will then be free to take any route they choose, traveling east or west, as they attempt to become the fastest person to circumnavigate the globe on a bicycle. Their route must cover a minimum of 18,000 miles, however, and the rider must pass through two antipodal points on the planet as they go. That is to say, they must pass touch two points that are on the exact opposite side of the world from one another.

The race will feature three categories with both male and female riders entered into each of them. In the “Supported” category a single cyclist will take to the road with a team that will provide assistance whereever necessary. That crew can help make bike repairs, find places to stay, provide food and so on. This is the category for those who are hoping to take a legitimate shot at the world record for the fastest time around the globe. In both the “Solo” and “Pairs” category, riders will travel completely unsupported with just the gear they can carry with them to see them through. While out on the road, they’ll need to be entirely self sufficient, dealing with whatever challenges arise completely on their own.The challenge may be big, but the entry fee for the World Cycle Race couldn’t be any smaller. Registration is now open for the event and race organizers aren’t charging a single dime for those who want to take part. Simply fill out the online letter of intent that you’ll find on the race’s official website and they’ll notify you with more details as they are made clear. In the meantime, you can keep yourself busy by training and riding your bike. After all, the start of the WRC is less than a year away.

The inaugural World Cycling Race took place last year with British rider Mike Hall taking the crown. Hall, who raced solo and unsupported, managed to circle the globe in just under 92 days. This time out, Hall has joined the race staff as a WCR ambassador and will serve on the race’s rules committee.

The race is brought to us by the Adventurists, the same team behind the amazing Mongol Rally and Rickshaw Run, amongst a number of other crazy adventures. That means the WCR will be well organized and accessible to just about anyone who feels the need to ride their bikes for an obscene number of miles each day.

[Photo Credit Eddie Clark Media]

Round-the-world bicycle race begins tomorrow

The World Cycling Racing Grand Tour, the first round-the-world bike competition, gets underway tomorrow. From Greenwich Park in London, ten competitors have signed up for the event which will send them on a month’s long odyssey that will cover more than 18,000 miles and span multiple continents — just before returning to where they started in time for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

The competitors in the event are given quite a bit of leeway in terms of determining their route and strategy for the race. They are required to cover a minimum of 18,000 miles, and GPS devices will be used to track their progress and ensure that they are adhering to that rule. But they can cover that mileage on a route of their own choosing, and can even decide if they prefer to pedal east or west along the way. Additionally, they must also visit antipodal points on the planet – which is to say, two points that are on the opposite side of the globe from one another. They are also allowed to use scheduled public transportation to cross impassable barriers, which simply means they can use ferries or aircraft to get across large bodies of water.

The current record for a circumnavigation of the planet by bike is held by Brit Alan Bate, who managed to accomplish that feat in just 96 days, 10 hours, and 33 minutes. In order to beat that record, one of the riders will have to average more than 190 miles per day. That will be a challenging and grueling pace for any rider to maintain throughout an event that if five times longer than the Tour de France.

Once the race starts, we’ll be able to follow the progress of the riders on the WCR website and track the routes they take around the globe. It should be interesting to see which way they elect to go and how long it takes for them to get back to London.

[Photo credit: Douglas Whitehead]

Australian Cadel Evans wins 2011 Tour de France

The 2011 Tour de France came to an end yesterday on the Champs Elyesees in Paris, where Australian Cadel Evans rode to victory in the race’s famed Yellow Jersey. After more than three weeks of racing, Evans emerged from the pack as best rider in this year’s event, and became the first man from Australia to win cycling’s premiere event.

With a course designed to challenge the riders in unique ways on every single day, fans of the Tour expected this year’s race to be an exciting and wide open one. They got everything they wanted and more, as the 2011 Tour de France featured all kinds of dramatics, particularly when the race entered the high mountains of the Pyrenees and the Alps. During the three weeks of racing, there were daring breakaways, brilliant individual performances, and cringe-inducing crashes, including a nasty incident with a media car that sent Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland flying into a barbed wire fence.

Before the race started back on July 2nd, the pre-race favorites included not only Evans, but also defending champ Alberto Contador of Spain and the brothers from Luxembourg, Frank and Andy Schleck. Contador was bogged down with crashes early in the race, injuring a knee in the process. Those mishaps cost him precious time, and despite a spirited attempt in the final days of the Tour, he never quite got into the rhythm that has won him the Yellow Jerseys on three separate occasions in the past.
Heading into Saturday however, Andy and Frank Schleck sat at first and second in the standings respectively. Working together, the two men had managed to claim a small lead over Evans coming out of the final mountain stages. Saturday’s stage was an individual time trial however, which is not a strong point for those two riders, and is a particular strength of Evans. The Aussie rode one of the best rides of the day, and left the two Schlecks in the dust, claiming the victory. The two brothers slid to second and third in the final standings.

As is traditional in the Tour de France, Sunday is mostly a ceremonial ride into Paris. While the Peloton will joust for the final stage win, and the sprint specialists duel for the last available points of the race, no one attacks the Yellow Jersey. As a result, Evans’ ride to the finish line in Paris was essentially a 60 mile long victory lap, one that he particularly enjoyed after two second place finishes in previous Tours.

Cadel’s big win is expected to open the door for more Australian cyclists to leave their mark on the sport, much the way that Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong inspired young American cyclists. Australia already has a proud cycling tradition, but this win will give the sport yet another boost in the country.

Congrats to Evans on the amazing win.

[Photo courtesy of AFP]

World’s longest bike race gets underway on Sunday

As that little bike race in France comes to an end this weekend on the Champs Elysees, an ocean away, another one will begin, as the inaugural Vuelta Sudamericana gets underway from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The “expedition race”, as it is billed, is 134 days in length, making it the longest stage-race in the world.

The Vuelta is brought to us by the same deviously adventurous minds behind the Tour d’Afrique and the recently launched DreamTours, which lets you build your own cycling adventure. The organizers of the race have years of experience handling these types of events, and they allow the riders to focus on the journey while they take care of all the logistics.

While the race does run 134 days in length, only 110 of those are actual riding stages, with 23 rest days and 1 travel day built into the schedule as well. At the moment, 23 riders from all over the planet are set to embark on the ride, which begins on Sunday and will cover nearly 7500 miles, passing through Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru before ending in Quito, Ecuador four months from now. Along the the route they’ll peddle through steamy jungles, across arid deserts, and over mountain passes, climbing as high as 13,780 feet in the Andes.

The riders won’t be at a loss for interesting scenery either. Along the course they’ll pass by Iguazu Falls, Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America, the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth, Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable body of water in the world, and the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. All in all, a fairly great tour of the continent.

Of course, not all of us have four months to go cycling around South America, so the entire ride is also broken down into nine smaller sections allowing cyclists who can’t do the entire distance to join and leave at a variety of points along the way.

To learn more about the Vuelta Sudamericana, check out the official website, where you’ll find updates from the riders starting soon. There is also more info on the route, profiles of the riders, an F.A.Q. and a detailed look at the event. This seems like a great adventure for anyone who is into long distance cycling, and makes the Tour de France seem like a short ride in the countryside.